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New Year’s resolutions to make (and keep) this HSC year!

By Lily Dalton on 22 January 2018NSWblogGeneral

New Year’s Resolutions tend to get a bad rap. In fact, statistics say that 80% of people will fail achieving theirs by the second week of February. Hell, if you’re anything like us, chances are the majority of your resolutions are already out the window. With the odds stacked overwhelmingly against you, it might surprise you to hear that we believe resolutions are essential for putting you on the right path to HSC success. Hear us out.
While we can’t do much to help you get out of that gym contract you mistakenly signed last week, we can help you put together some (new) New Year’s Resolutions for you that you can actually stick to.

So, without further ado, here are our 4 best resolutions to put in your bag and bring back to school.

1. Start assignments the day you get them

Yep, we’re serious: the first day you get them. Now, before you accuse us of being overly-keen and unrealistic, we aren’t telling you to hit the ground running and start writing straight away. In fact, this would be counter-productive as you need time to let your ideas develop in your head and properly plan. But as soon as you get your assignments you should resist the temptation to put them away in a folder for a few weeks and start giving them some attention immediately. Here’s why:

  • On the day you get an assignment it’s likely your teacher will have gone over it in class. This means it’ll be fresh in your head and you’ll have a lot more clarity about what you have to do.
  • We all know that the later you leave an assignment the more daunting it gets. For assignments that you have weeks to work on, it’s all too easy to snowball into a string of ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, and before you know it there aren’t that many ‘tomorrows’ left.
  • Once you start something, it’s kinda hard to walk away from it. By starting straight away, you’ll be more likely to put in consistent work early on. This means you’ll have more time for proofreading and refining later. The earlier you start, the earlier you finish: simple.

So, as soon as you get assignments allocate an hour of your time to go over the marking criteria and highlight key requirements, write down any questions you might have, and maybe get started on a little bit of research. It’s a simple habit to get into that goes along way.

2. Talk to your teachers

Year 12 is the time to snap out of that ‘us against them’ mentality when it comes to your teachers. Sure, they may have given you that D in year 10 or put you on detention a few times, but when it comes to the HSC they genuinely have your best interests at heart. Your teachers are one of your best resources: they’ve sat a lot more HSCs than you, have outside intel from other teachers and the marking centre, and above all they want you to succeed.

At Atomi, we love teachers. And we’ve given you our fair share of tips on how you can get the most out of them. So we may be preaching to the converted here, but either way there’s always more you can do to use your teacher to your advantage.

For the upcoming year, make a pact to develop a better relationship with your teachers: ask more questions and interact with them beyond the classroom. As they say, you only get out what you put in.

3. Write notes as you go

Okay, so a lot of us have tried and failed at this one. It’s a habit that takes a lot of willpower but creating study notes throughout the entire year (not simply before exams) is one of the best things you can do to effectively get your head around the content.

The best way to make this resolution a reality is to make a syllabus-based scaffold for your notes at the start of each topic and then fill it in as you cover each requirement in class. Spend about 15 minutes after class thinking about what the most important pieces of information are then summarising them as best you can.

Writing your notes as you go is good because:

  1. It helps cement the content in your mind early on. If you watch a video (link) on a topic, learn about it in class, and then spend time putting it into a summary of your own words, you’ve already seen the information 3 times: enough to commit it to your long-term memory. This will definitely save you the pain of sitting down the week before an assessment swearing to yourself that you’ve never seen that bit of content in your life.
  2. It also means you’ll end up with a really refined set of notes that has evolved throughout the year. You should aim to go back through your notes with a fine-tooth comb regularly and condense them as much as possible. When it comes to notes less is always more: while your mum or mates may be impressed by 150 pages of Ancient notes you had bound at Officeworks, your brain certainly won’t. The earlier and more consistently you write notes, the more streamlined (and effective) they’ll be.

Don’t wait until you feel like you ‘need’ study notes to start making them, trust us.

4. Get healthy

Ok alarm bells going off. While ‘getting healthy’ might seem like the poster child for failed resolutions, we aren’t setting you up to knock you down. You don’t need to overhaul your lifestyle, run a marathon or give up Maccas, but small adjustments can be your saving grace this HSC year.

The stress of year 12 is something to take seriously, and even if you feel fine now, it’s always worthwhile to prioritise your mental health. Some positive lifestyle adjustments that go along way are:

  1. Sleep. You should try and establish a regular sleep pattern: go to bed and wake up at around the same time and aim for 7-8 hours sleep each night. Sleep is the best study drug out there: a good night’s sleep is proven to enhance your concentration, memory, and mood. Of course, there’s always going to be those nights you have no choice but to get that assignment done, but an all-nighter should never be a thing. Losing a whole night of sleep can seriously mess with you for as long as two weeks afterwards. Good sleeping habits are crucial, and lucky for you sleep is so easy you can do it with your eyes closed (sorry…).
  2. Exercise. For those of you who spend your life on the sports field, this one will come easy. For the rest of us who swear we’re literally allergic to exercise, now might seem like the time to run (or walk) the other direction. But here’s the good news: exercise doesn’t have to suck. You can walk the dog, blast some music and have a dance or even dust off Wii Sports Resort. It doesn’t matter what you do, but getting up and moving is one of the best ways to relieve stress and release endorphins. It’s also a great study break and can help you refocus when you’re becoming fidgety.
  3. Meditate. Meditation seems to be all the rage at the moment, and rightly so. Getting into the practice of mindfulness can help you better manage stress, improve your attention span and feel more relaxed and confident. It’s especially useful to help you perform better in exams by staying more calm and focused. Now unless you’re a zen pro, you should start with guided meditation to ease into things. Download an app such as Headspace and commit to 10 minutes at the same time every day. At first, you’ll feel ridiculous sitting there with your eyes closed listening to some British dude telling you to “feel the sensation of the breath” but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

By making these small changes, you’ll have a much better experience this year and will be able to keep the HSC breakdowns at bay.

Overall, sticking to these resolutions is all about establishing the right habits. As they say, a habit takes 21 days to create, so push through the initial post-summer slump and we promise it’ll get easier.

If all else fails, we have your back.

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